Green House Projects Let Elders Age In Homes

Shahbaz and Elder i i

hide captionMark, a "shahbaz," or caretaker, and elder Kent relax outside the Baptist Memorial Retirement Center in San Angelo TX.

Courtesy of the Green House Project
Shahbaz and Elder

Mark, a "shahbaz," or caretaker, and elder Kent relax outside the Baptist Memorial Retirement Center in San Angelo TX.

Courtesy of the Green House Project

In the first program of our 'What Works' series, we take a look at nursing homes.

Tabitha Green House Project i i

hide captionThe Tabitha Green House Project in Lincoln, NE opened in May, 2006.

Courtesy of the Green House Project
Tabitha Green House Project

The Tabitha Green House Project in Lincoln, NE opened in May, 2006.

Courtesy of the Green House Project

Dr. Bill Thomas spent some time in traditional, institutional nursing homes, and he didn't like what he saw. In an interview with NPR's Joe Shapiro in 2005, he remarked, "I believe that in the nursing home every year, thousands and thousands of people die of a broken heart. They die not so much because their organs fail, but because their grip on life has failed."

So Dr. Thomas set out to fix nursing homes. He developed the Eden Alternative, and drew life into nursing homes with plants, animals and children.

Next, he threw out the institutional model and developed the Green House Project . In Green Houses, residents aren't patients, but elders, and the elders live together in group homes. The Green Houses give elders a quality of life much like the ones they left behind.

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